As defined by its statute, the Commission is comprised of two elected officials from each of the participating jurisdictions, one citizen appointee from each of the jurisdictions, and one representative each from the Culpeper and Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
The Commission is by statute an “independent local entity without political subdivision,” and as such is a public body bound to the laws of Virginia like other public bodies such as the Board of Supervisors and other Commissions, including the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Conflict of Interest Act, and Public Procurement Policy.
The Commission is supported by staff (Executive Director, Program Manager, Program Assistant/GIS Specialist, and volunteers) and a Technical Advisory Committee.
Initial funding for the Rivanna River Basin Commission comes from a grant from the Nature Conservancy in Virginia that represents the generous contributions of private donors committed specifically to helping launch the River Basin Commission. Additional funding for specific projects of the Commission is obtained through state and federal grants. As an entity of local government, the Commission may receive funding and contributions from public and private sources.
The Commission started to meet in 2007, with staff support provided by TNC and fiscal agency by the Thomas Jefferson SWCD. A robust and engaged Technical Advisory Committee was also formed, comprised of “core-TAC members” (water resources, environmental, and planning staff appointed by their member local governments plus the TJ and Culpepper SWCD district managers) and “non-core TAC members” (local or regional technical experts in hydrology, sedimentation, stormwater, geomorphology, and water quality). The TAC has met 4 top 6 times per year since 2007 and, in 2008, recommended that the RRBC focus its watershed protection efforts on mitigating the harmful effects of altered hydrology that cause excessive and harmful sedimentation in area streams. A substantial grant from NFWF was proposed and secured to advance this recommendation at the locality and Rivanna watershed scales.
In 2009, RRBC hired Leslie Middleton as its first Executive Director. Also during this year, RRBC became its own fiscal agent, requiring the implementation of many organizational and administrative processes. During 2009-2010, Ms. Middleton and part-time administrative staff have provided Commission and TAC meeting support; NFWF grant program management, coordination with the localities, and implementation of project components; sought additional funding for Rivanna programs; and worked regionally and with state agencies to help prepare RRBC and its member localities for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.